Whirlpool

Strong Q4 for Whirlpool helps boost 2020 profits by 25%

Whirlpool Corporation has reported a strong Q4 for 2020 that helped boost profits by 25% on sales down by 4.7% at $19.5 billion (£14.2bn).

Despite what chairman Marc Bitzer described as “a challenging environment”, Whirlpool net sales for Q4 of 2020 were up 7.7% year on year to $5.8bn, while profits (EBIT) leapt by 68.9% to $657 million. Earnings per diluted share (GAAP) up 72% to $7.77.

For the full year, profits (EBIT) were up by 25% to $1.77bn on net sales down 4.7% at $19.5bn.  Earnings per diluted share (GAAP) were down 7.5% over 2019 at $17.07.

Whirlpool Corporation attributes its strong final quarter to “decisive early actions to sustain operating margins and protect liquidity”.

The company said it expected to see Covid-related supply chain problems resolved by the end of Q2 this year.

Said Marc Bitzer, chairman and chief executive of Whirlpool Corporation: “Despite a challenging environment in 2020, we continued to deliver against our long-term strategy and reported our third consecutive year of record ongoing earnings per share.

Marc Bitzer
Marc Bitzer

“As we enter into 2021, we continue to see signs of economic recovery – such as positive demand and encouraging structural housing trends – and remain well-positioned to drive sustained shareholder value over the long term.”

Chief financial officer Jim Peters added: “We ended 2020 in a position of strength due to the early, decisive actions we took at the onset of the year to sustain operating margins and protect liquidity.

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 “We significantly strengthened our balance sheet and continued to return cash to our shareholders, while delivering record ongoing earnings per share, ongoing EBIT margins and free cash flow. Looking ahead, we are confident that we will continue to deliver on our long-term financial goals and create further value for our shareholders.”

Whirlpool Corporation also revealed that it had achieved record full-year ongoing (non-GAAP) EBIT margin of 9.1%, up 220 basis points, thanks to a strong execution of “got-to-market” initiatives and a $500m cost-saving programme.

The Corporation did, however, incur restructuring costs of $228m during 2020. These costs were primarily related to actions to “right-size” and reduce the fixed-cost structure of its global business, attributable mainly to the uncertainties caused by Covid-19 within the EMEA region.

Other costs in 2020 included around $30m related to an EMEA-produced washer recall campaign.

Q4 results by region for 2020 show EMEA sales up 17.8%, North American sales by 4.3%, with Latin America up 27.9%.

Looking ahead, Whirlpool Corporation said it expected to see strong demand sustained throughout 2021 with consumers having increased disposable incomes and a “shift towards nesting”.

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